Bob Odenkirk Reflects on Early SNL Years, “‘I Had No F-ing Clue What I Was Doing”

A stop at 30 Rock’s Studio 8H is a rite of passage for most comedians looking for their big break. Bob Odenkirk is no exception, having found a spot on the writing staff for Saturday Night Live for four years in the live sketch comedy’s formative years. According to Odenkirk, however, the comedian had “no f–king idea” what he was doing on the show.

“I was unsure of myself. It was hard. It was existentially dangerous. I had feelings of ‘I should erase myself,'” Odenkirk said on the latest episode of Tig Notaro’s Don’t Ask Tig podcast.

“I was too young when I got hired at SNL,” he added. “That was not a good thing. That could’ve gone wrong. That could’ve gone so wrong. It came this close so many times to going so wrong. You gotta believe me. And it’s hard for kids to believe you when you say, ‘I had no f—ing clue what I was doing and I was scared outta my wits for years.'”

Odenkirk was just 25 when he joined the cast of SNL shortly after graduating from Carbondale’s Southern Illinois University. In 2021, the actor told PEOPLE Magazine he wishes he wasn’t such a “prick” when he joined the writing staff of the show.

“I wish I wasn’t such a stuck up young man,” Odenkirk told PEOPLETV. “I wish I was a sweeter fellow because I had a great opportunity there. I made the most of it. I learned a lot about comedy writing and I made some great friends for life at that show, but I still wish I’d just handled it better, but don’t you always wish that about your young self?”

“I was so opinionated. I was a very opinionated comedy writer,” he continued. “I was a writer on the show and Lorne [Michaels] would sometimes have me do a part in the scene, a small part like that. And of course I was starstruck at Catherine O’Hara, who was just the best.”

Virtually every SNL episode, other than the select few locked away for good because of a variety of reasons, is now available to watch on Peacock. You can sign up for the streaming platform here.